The old Post and Telegraph office in Molesworth Street
The old Post and Telegraph office in Molesworth Street Samantha Elley

The strange history of our clock tower revealed

THE strange history of Lismore's clocktower has been revealed after artist Kenzee Patterson decided to explore his family's link to it.

According to Mr Patterson's research, not everything went to plan in the construction of the tower.

"The bells were shipped up from Sydney along the coast of New South Wales aboard the steamer Electra," he said.

"But when they were shipped up here and installed, the four quarter chime bells were found to be so discordant and disharmonious they were removed and (then) were lost for about 25 years ... no-one knew where they were," he said.

"And through my research I have been able to figure out they were sold as scrap."

But the clocktower's woes didn't end there.

"A worker in July 1900 was attempting to fix the clock because it continued to malfunction and (he) fell 20 feet, fracturing his skull. He survived, but was obviously a bit ill after that," Mr Patterson said.

He also discovered the clock itself and the mechanism for striking the bell persistently malfunctioned.

"(At) noon on a Sunday in October 1906 the bell struck 77 or 78 times," he said.

The strange history of Lismores clock tower has been revealed after artist Kenzee Patterson decided to explore his own family link to the tower.
The strange history of Lismores clock tower has been revealed after artist Kenzee Patterson decided to explore his own family link to the tower. Marc Stapelberg

Mr Patterson, who is based in Sydney, has created an exhibition exploring the links between his family, Lismore and the clock tower.

His great-great-grandfather, Frederick Ernest Wright, is thought to have worked on the construction of the belfry in the clocktower, while the latter's maternal grandparents were involved in the red cedar trade locally.

The exhibition - called A tree branches, so does a river - opens today at the Lismore Regional Gallery.

"I am interested in bringing events of the past into the consciousness of the present and getting people to think about the overlap and fluidity of history, and time and memory and how stories are constructed," he said.

As part of the exhibition, which features steel structures and a giant wall hanging, Mr Patterson also wants to ring the clocktower bell, which has remained silent for more than a decade.

"The striking bell remained up there and I think would be a beautiful gesture and public art outcome to ring that bell and resound it throughout (town)," he said.

The old Post and Telegraph office in Molesworth Street
The old Post and Telegraph office in Molesworth Street Samantha Elley


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